"Play Me, I'm Yours" Pianos Damaged Over Holiday Weekend

By: Melina Matthes

OMAHA (kptm) - The Omaha Creative Institute says they lost two "Play Me, I'm Yours" pianos over the weekend. They say two were destroyed and another has been the target of vandalism.

The "Play Me, I'm Yours" piano at the base of the Bob Kerrey pedestrian bridge was one of two damaged Saturday night during the rainstorm. Someone intentionally removed the cover, played the piano, and then forgot to put it back on.

Natalie Shaw with the Creative Institute said, "it's a little disappointing. We know that it wasn't vindictive though, that's the best part, we know that it was just somebody who wanted to enjoy the piano and they just didn't really think about the fact that it was covered for a reason."

The piano at Memorial Park has been a fixture for almost two weeks, but the ivory keys aren't playing anymore. Shaw said the piano is permanently damaged. "You can see the keys are water logged, so they don't even press down anymore and all of the black keys came off the piano."

She said even the inside of the piano was soaked, but she said it's the nature of public art. It was a risk they were willing to take, putting the pianos outside. "We are telling you to touch the artwork and to play with it and to make it your own, so we just hope people will remain respectful."

She said the piano at Bayliss Park in Council Bluffs is one of the most vandalized pieces of the collection. People have signed their names on the artwork, even stolen an acorn from the squirrel sculpture.

"The piano tuner told a really cute story of when he was down there fixing that piano. A little kid who had been playing in the fountain came over and said it was ours, and we broke it. I can't believe that it was ours and we broke it, we should've taken more responsibility," Shaw said.

She said even though two of the pianos are no longer playable, she hopes people will still enjoy the 8 remaining pianos. They will be available through Sunday, September 8th.

For a list of "Play Me, I'm Yours" locations, visit